Koshogatsu, red rice soup day


This the food for today in Japanese tradition :

Little New Year (click here)

Hey, why not ? An okayu (rice porridge) makes a nice… brunch. It’s simple just fill the rice cooker the day before.


This version is not traditional. It’s genmai brown rice. Then I’ve added fish bone stock and a few red items as final toppings. All that together was really tasty.

Dessert.

The chrysanthemum and the soba. A bridge over the years…

This blog is pacifist, throw away the sword, fight with soba noodles. As every year, I’ve eaten these noodles to pass safely into the next year. You need some kind of rope to retain you in case you’d fall in that calendar gap…
Well that’s not as if I need a pretext to eat soba, it’s more that I won’t miss any.

More Japanese New Year traditions here…/a>

Well the chrysanthemum is the symbol of the Imperial family, thus of Japan… And it’s season food. You have seen some on sashimi plates probably. Leaves are called shungiku (Spring chrysanthemum) are available in this season to add to hot pots.

This type has particularly wide leaves.

They make so big discounts on fresh soba on the last day that I had enough for a decade. I could remake some in daylight for photos.

This year’s ingredients. There are often shrimps in New Year dishes.

The noodles are boiled apart. The shrimps and shungiku greens poached in tsuyu (dashi, mirin, soy sauce). Then add the colorful stuff on top :

Yummy !

Opening 2013 with a Kyoto style o-zoni soup


Akemashite omedeto ! Happy New Year ! Bonne année !
Well, I’m not too much into wish-wish, my first concern this year was as usual : What do we eat in 2013 !
Ozoni ! It’s explained here.

The classic Kyoto o-zoni is caracterized by its simplicity, elegance, traditionalism and refinement. Mine is even simpler than planned… I’ve forgotten to add tofu. It was still delicious.
Kohaku, red and white are the good luck color of New Year and this soup follows this color code.

Mochi. Ozoni is mochi.

Dainty soup with a base of Saikyo miso and a dashi broth of the finest hana-katsuo, flower bonito fish shavings. I had to cheat, I’ve added a little sake kasu.

Traditional seasonal veggies. Ginnan are the gincko tree’s nuts. Kyoto’s small taro satoimo and ultra-red Kintoki carrot.

The veggies are boiled separately as they don’t go well together. These small round mochi get soft by poaching them a few minutes in boiling or near boiling water. If you had a big mochi, you’d need to slice it.

Fill the bowl with a mochi, veggies, tofu if you have. Cover with broth and top with a mount of fish flakes. Take the photo quick as the fish flakes disappear like in moving sands.

Around O-shogatsu, a few Japanese New Year specialties…


MOCHI

Mochi is Japanese New Year and Japanese New Year is mochi.
These blocks of pounded sticky rice are made in this season and used as a decoration and as food.

mochi 101
my display of kagami mochi



A soup is made with mochi. There are many very different regional or familial recipes, many lovely original ingredients…

O-zoni (mochi soup), colorful
O-zoni, Kyoto style

Soba
Noodles eaten to pass the year and symbolize continuity.

toshikiri soba (2011, explanation)
toshikiri soba (2012)
toshikiri soba (2012)

Osechi Ryori, New-Year good luck dishes are old style dishes whose names, colors or shapes are linked with good things. Most of it is prepared a few days in advance with many different ingredients and displayed in big lacquer boxes.

Here is an example of home-made full menu :

the lacquer box
the Osechi menu 2011
kuri kinton
kuro mame
Osechi 1 : kazu no ko
Osechi 2 : kintoki ninjin and daikon for namasu
Osechi 3 : building a rice paddy
Osechi 4 : kohaku kamaboko fish cakes
Osechi 5 : chicken matsukaze
Osechi 6 : the vegetable box
Osechi 7 : tamago mosaic
omedetai, lucky grilled fish

Tai-meshi, a meal with Osechi leftovers


A tradition for January 7th

7 herb day
nanagusa okayu (7th day soup)

Little New-Year, women’ New Year… it’s a little forgotten.

okayu for Koshogatsu

And to finish with the mochi :

breaking the New Year mochi (done around January 15th)

The ozone layer of the New Year…

This is a bowl of O-zoni.
First soupe du jour, well soupe de l’an of the year. First lame pun of the year. Yes, Miss 49th, you were right to expect it.

Ozoni is a New-Year soup that is eaten…. half of the year in Kansai. Clearly, when you empty your fridge in a pot of broth, you get one. No, no, I don’t want to break the romantic image. Today’s zoni is the first of 2012. This year’s first time. The maiden soup.

The recipe of ozoni is totally defined by the name. BTW, this year. you are all reading nihongo.
So お雑煮 means literally “da n’importe quoi stew“. And n’importe quoi can be anything. Like here :

Japan having 30 millions of families, I have in my data base 30 millions version the true and unique zoni recipe. Plus one per year, for myself.

The soup is either water or broth (usually fish, many variations) :
-salt
-shoyu soy sauce (many types)
-miso (many types)
-azuki beans
-natto (fermented beans)

Gourmande’s 2012 zoni : duck broth and standard beige miso. I’m not the only crazy ozonist. You can read about curry soup ones on the big internet…

Then, you can put meat, seafood, fish, kamaboko fish cakes, meat bowls… I had tofu.

And veggies. These blue things are kuwai (arrow-heads, read more here), I peeled them. Flower yaki fu (gluten croutons). A ring of negi leeks. Bits of rind of a yuzu for the citrus fragrance.
Carrot.
Also threw in chrysanthemums, wasabi leaves, small green asparagus.

And MOCHI. Unless, you are really poor and no rice is produced in your mountain village, so you use a taro instead. That’s unlikely in 2012.

I cut a mochi and I keep one whole.

The melting mochi…

And lots of surprises… hopefully, 2012 will be as sweet and colorful as this soup.

Japanese New-Year count down (-1)

We arrive at the last step of preparations for the Japanese New Year Osechi Ryouri.
You were thinking there were only small bits and no big piece. That’s true in a way. Japanese meal favor the variety. The more items the biggest luxury.
But there is something else. A roast… well a grilled fish.

Shio-yaki tai (salt grilled tai fish)

Making a traditional meal of Japanese Osechi (New Year good luck food). That was an experiment and I had a lot of fun doing it. As usual, don’t look for perfection. I am no expert…

Read more.